Issue of Indian Support Price to Agriculture in WTO

India responded to questions from Australia on its minimum support price for wheat. India said its support prices depended on various factors including the cost of cultivation and market price, and more information could be found on its government website.

According to Australia, the government of India has raised the support price for wheat every year since 2006. Australia expressed the view that wheat prices had been declining in recent years, and any wheat policies that could affect world prices deserved close attention. The United States, Ukraine, Canada and the European Union indicated their interest in the question.

Separately, India responded to questions concerning its price support for sugar cane in the state of Uttar Pradesh, buffer stocks of pulses, and its price support for rabi and kharif crops. Rabi crops include wheat, barley, mustard, sesame and peas; they are sown in the winter season and harvested in the spring. Kharif crops are grown during the monsoon season and include crops such as rice, millet, corn, cotton and sugarcane.

These questions were raised by the European Union, Canada and the United States. Major crop exporters such as Ukraine and Australia indicated their interest in the question. India explained that the objective of these programmes is to safeguard farmers’ livelihood, and it provided web links where information on the reference prices can be found.

Related Terms in WTO:

Amber Box: Domestic support for agriculture that is considered to distort trade and therefore subject to reduction commitments. Technically calculated as “Aggregate Measurement of Support” (AMS).

Blue Box: Amber Box types of support, but with constraints on production or other conditions designed to reduce the distortion. Currently not limited.

de minimis: Minimal amounts of domestic support that are allowed even though they distort trade — up to 5% of the value of production for developed countries, 10% for developing.

Green Box: Domestic support for agriculture that is allowed without limits because it does not distort trade, or at most causes minimal distortion.

Overall Trade-Distorting Domestic Support (OTDS): In agriculture, Amber Box + de minimis + Blue Box support.

Tariff Quota: When quantities inside a quota are charged lower import duty rates, than those outside (which can be high).